Where Does Journalism Go From Here? News, Media & COVID-19

Journalism has seen intense difficulties over the last decade, but the current crisis has shown just how important that work is and how newsrooms are innovating to keep it going. We chat with Joe Stephens, award-winning reporter and Founding Director of Princeton University's Program in Journalism.

Browse by topic or read the transcript of our interview below.

Topics covered:
[1:22] The pandemic’s impacts on local and national journalism
[6:02] Today’s advancements and newsrooms’ responses to the pandemic
[8:12] History and modern collapse of local journalism & newsrooms
[13:17] Hyperlocal news and the state of journalism in higher education
[18:39] The need of independent journalism
[20:42] Navigating the news and information landscape
[25:18] Getting news through social media and escaping the social media bubble
[28:17] Understanding media consumption in today’s age 
[31:07] Pulling together through the pandemic

Joe Stephens: You need to rely on the local media. That’s the only place to go to get reliable, verified, independent information. And yet, some of those local papers have already closed. Some have been cutting back to fewer days a week. Some are really struggling to pay their staff. So it’s a real problem. It’s a real dilemma and it feels like we’re at a tipping point. A lot of people are trying to do what they can to save their local media. And of course nonprofit news organizations, like your own, really fill a vacuum and are a new way of producing verified information, important information and really doing the public service. So thank you for that. 

Logan Sander: Thank you all for joining me for our next episode of the Midpoint. Today, I’m so excited to have with us Joe Stephens. He’s the founding director of the Princeton Journalism Program and a former writer for the Washington Post. He’s here to talk a little bit about journalism and COVID-19. Well, thank you so much for being with me today, Joe. I’m really excited to talk a little bit about local journalism, national journalism, as well as how COVID-19 has affected the industry at large. And I know you have some experience in that, both in [the] field, but also in teaching.

So maybe you could start by giving us just a little bit of an overview. We’ve all heard about the struggles. We’ve heard about the layoffs. We’ve heard about a lot of these major challenges, especially in the digital age for journalism, but maybe you could give us a little bit of that background. 

JS: Sure. Well, I’m very excited to be here, thank you for the invitation, and I’m excited to be on Midstory also because I’m an Ohio boy; I grew up in southern Ohio. Everyone wanted to be in Cleveland working for the Plain Dealer back then; it was the big, robust paper. I’m glad to be home in that way. 

You know, we have the best of times and the worst of times in journalism, because readership is at historic highs and you really can see it during the pandemic that readership is just off the charts in literally historic figures. Individual stories from the New York Times, the Washington Post, are getting more people reading them than ever before in the history of the world. It’s astounding. And also, you have very dramatic examples of why journalism is important. It’s literally, in some cases, life and death to figure out what you should be doing to keep yourself safe, to keep your family safe, to get food, to get medical treatment. It’s never been more important. 

At the same time, the economic model is completely falling apart, and it’s been falling apart for decades actually and accelerating as we go along, because when newspapers move from being ink on paper print delivered to your front door, advertisers paid for most of the expense of gathering that news. And there’s a significant expense because you have to have reporters and editors, you have to send people out into the field, maybe fly somewhere, maybe spend weeks or even months on a story. Someone has to pay for that, and it used to be big advertisers, car dealers [and] big department stores. When everything started moving online that changed. People wouldn’t pay as much for the ads, they thought they weren’t as effective and people didn’t have to advertise in a newspaper or on a news site. They could advertise wherever even on their own website. And so revenue has been going down dramatically over time. 

With the epidemic it’s really plummeted because the major advertisers left afterward being restaurants, bars, retail shops, the things which are closed right now, so the revenue just came to a screeching halt. Also in local areas, for example, you sell an income paper edition at a news rack or on the local store, people don’t want to … they’re not outside their homes. They’re not going to the news racks. The stores maybe are closed. Also people are reluctant just to have a physical object, which they think may or may not be contaminated. So they’re very rough times for these small papers. Interestingly, for the very few large papers that are doing well over recent years, they are actually doing quite well now. A rare phenomenon, the New York Times reported that in the first quarter its revenue actually increased because they’ve switched from being supported primarily by advertisers, to being supported by their own readers. And more people desperately needing hard verified facts have subscribed to the New York Times in the last couple months. And also people are at home and they have more time to read and educate themselves about many subjects. So their revenue actually went up. 

So large papers are doing well, local and regional papers are really struggling at a time when they’re needed the most. In your own community, how do you know which grocery stores have what you need? How do you know where to go if you need to be tested? You need to rely on the local media. That’s the only place to go to get reliable, verified, independent information. And yet some of those local papers have already closed. Some have been cutting back to fewer days a week. Some are really struggling to pay their staff. So it’s a real problem. It’s a real dilemma and it feels like we’re at a tipping point. And so, a lot of people are trying to do what they can to save their local media. And of course nonprofit news organizations, like your own, really fill a vacuum and are a new way of producing verified information, important information and really doing the public service. So thank you for that.

LS: Thank you, thank you for saying that. Something you mentioned that’s really interesting, and also particularly about the models that journalism organizations and newsrooms are changing; I recently read some news that the Washington Post is thinking about [how] they cannot just rely on ad revenue any longer. And especially during the pandemic where as you mentioned, ad revenue is plummeting even if subscriptions are going up. What are some of the ways that journalism organizations and newsrooms are pivoting? Specifically, I think I read somewhere with the Washington Post that, of course now that it’s owned by Jeff Bezos, that there’s been some pivots toward being more tech involved. Of course we’ve noticed some really incredible things coming out of newsrooms like interactive digital media, graphics and maps for COVID-19, what are some of the ways that they’re innovating as this crisis goes on? 

JS: Well, obviously big online, delivering your information online gives you a lot more flexibility. As you say, you can do interactive visualizations, you can do spreadsheets, you can localize things. You go to the Washington Post and pull down a map for statistics on the epidemic, illnesses, hospitalizations, available hospital beds. And you can go to your local community and so you can get information that’s very personalized to you; [it] allows you to do that. It also allows the reporters — this is huge — reporters face the same risks that everyone else does. And so most of them are now working at home and they’re producing your stories entirely from home and they couldn’t do that unless they could deliver the information also to their editors electronically; the editors can come in electronically. They can have readers actually take photographs of themselves, take videos of themselves and people are actually shooting out the window for the block. How do you get news of what’s happening at someone’s block and you don’t want to physically go there so you don’t get sick? You’re going to have someone take their phone, shoot out the window and send it to you. So this gives you a lot of flexibility, lots of new ways to produce the news. And thank goodness we’ve got it right now because we really need it. 

LS: Yeah, absolutely. And pivoting back toward what you were saying about local journalism in particular, I think we do see that divide in the successes of different newsrooms at this time financially. I think national news is getting a lot of attention, people are relying on that and in some ways, this crisis has exposed the real need of journalism during these times, but we’re seeing a little bit of difference, like you mentioned, in local journalism. Our newsrooms are struggling. I think most may be near and dear to our hearts, too, as Ohioans, and also you mentioned being from Ohio that the Plain Dealer, obviously that news recently about the newsroom layoffs and all of that and also that the Plain Dealer is not going to be covering the main area of Cleveland anymore. There’s a lot of questions, of course, I’m sure people have, but is this similar to what’s happening in local news rooms around the country and how are communities dealing with that lack, that gap? 

JS: It’s very sad to see what’s going on in local journalism. And the U.S. has a really incredibly rich history of local journalism and just kind of a whole ecosystem of ways to inform people around the country. And also we learn about other parts of the country through this and it’s really wilting on the vine and it is very sad. I myself spent most of my career, before I was at the Washington Post, in local and regional newsrooms. I started off right out of college, I was editor-in-chief of a small county seat weekly newspaper. And some weeks, I was the entire staff as well as being editor-in-chief: I took all the photos, I developed the photos, I laid out the pages and we did a good job. I worked for the Kansas City Star for many years. When I was growing up in southern Ohio, the Plain Dealer was one of the great regional papers, it was just big and strapping and it did great accountability reporting, great investigative reporting, it held the powerful people accountable. It did such a great job and it’s been very sad to see it slowly, slowly shrink, but it’s not the only one. Most of our regional papers have shrunk and shrunk and shrunk. And they’ve been cutting back as the economic model changes. Another thing that’s gone on has been big chains have come in and bought out individual papers, and sometimes these corporate owners are not as interested in community service and public service; they’re more interested just purely in revenue. And so that’s been very sad to see. It’s almost unthinkable to me to think of the Plain Dealer being in a position where it’s not even adequately covering the city of Cleveland and it’s hard to replace that. It’s something that, if it goes away, we’ve lost something in the U.S. that a lot of different other countries have not had the luxury of having this robust local and regional media. And if we lose it, it’s going to be very hard to replace

And as I mentioned earlier, one of the things that’s happened is we’ve had nonprofit news organizations, such as your own, have been springing up all over the country and trying to fill the gap. But it’s hard because what we’re losing were big, robust news organizations with dozens of people, sometimes hundreds of people, working in the newsroom. So it’s very hard to replace, but nonprofits have been helping. There have been a number of foundations and incubator groups [that] have sprung up to try to provide funding, like Report for America. ProPublica, the investigative nonprofit group out of New York, is doing a great job helping put reporters in regional news organizations. And they’re doing some really, really great work, but it is not yet enough to completely replace what we’ve enjoyed and taken for granted, to tell you the truth, in the past. We also are lucky to have public radio in a lot of communities, that’s one thing which is taking up some of the slack: these NPR affiliates. And they really are good at providing local news, especially as you get out west in farming areas, places that are very rural. They’re great because they can cover a large span of territory. But there’s no good answer right now. There’s been a lot of talk about public funding; government funding for news organizations is something we’ve been very reluctant to do in the U.S. especially because we’ve had such a robust independent media. And journalists don’t like the idea of asking for money or being beholden in any way to [the] government, but things have gotten to such a critical point that there’s now renewed talk about whether the federal government and state governments should help pay for some journalism. It’s a controversial issue and I’m not sure readers have decided exactly what they would think about that so far. 

LS: And something I’ve seen also with local newsrooms in particular, there are communities, I know this is true in Princeton as well, is that a lot of the local papers are not maybe doing that well, but there have been hyper-local digital newsrooms that have come out and taken over that, not having print at all. There have been different models to try to address that, of course, relying on other things besides ad revenue, having kind of voluntary subscription services. Do you, it’s a little bit of a difficult question, but do you see a way forward for that hyper-local-independent newsroom in other forms? Is it all digital or do we still keep print, what do you think?

JS: I think it’s gonna be mainly digital in the future. You bring up Princeton; in Princeton one of the bigger publications was essentially all print. They decided just to stay with print. They’re not … they’re closed now until the epidemic’s over, because they can’t deliver the paper and people don’t want a physical paper, so I think it’s gonna be increasingly … There will be some print products still surviv[ing], but the majority is still going to be online, electronic. I’m an optimist, and so I think we’ve got to figure this out, because democracy does not work without a source of verified, independent information. So I can’t really see democracy fully working without some sort of independent journalism. 

Also, there’s lots of eager young people we’ve got in our colleges. There’s endless fascination with journalism. People see journalism as a calling. And we have people, like yourself, who are out there fighting the good fight so I hope we’ll figure it out. Although journalism is an occupation, it’s very tough for people my age who came up under the old system. I actually think it’s not a bad way to start out now when you’re young and you are digitally-savvy. And you can ride up whatever replaces what we had before. But it’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s frothy, but we can’t see right now exactly what it’s going to be because you never can see how a revolution ends when you’re in the middle of it. So I’ve got hope. I just can’t forecast exactly what will be the replacement. 

LS: We gotta have the hope, right? That brings me to another question. You’re the founding director of the program in journalism at Princeton, so obviously you’re working with a lot of young, aspiring journalists. How have conversations with them pivoted, considering this crisis, considering the current state of journalism? What kind of conversations are you having with these aspiring journalists today? 

JS: Well much like what we’ve been discussing, we talk about a lot of the same things: changing business models [and] how to hold government officials and the powerful accountable in the future. There’s lots of creativity among the students, a lot of energy and interest. Interest is not waning; our courses all have long waiting lists. Interest in journalism hasn’t gone down at all. Now if the students really get interested and they’re nearing graduation and they want to talk about a career. Students often will come in and ask, “How realistic is it?” And it’s a talk I’ve had many times. And I have to say that going into journalism, if you’re the really serious, buttoned-down type, it’s never been a career choice that your parents will necessarily love. I had no idea what I was doing when I went into journalism. They thought I was nuts and it’s always been hard and journalism is more of a calling than it is a profession. And I tell students, don’t go into journalism unless you feel that you can’t stop yourself from going into journalism. You can imagine a life where you’re not a writer and you’re not involved in the work. And it’s also a profession where you never have to work a day in your life. If you’re a true journalist, it’s just like breathing. It’s just what you do. And if you take journalism that way, you’ll do just fine. And our students do just fine if they really have journalism in their DNA. I had this same conversation with one of our students. He signed up for the very first journalism course I ever taught in 2012, and he talked his way into my class. He wasn’t signed up. The classroom was full. And he said, “Can you put me in?” and I said, “I don’t think so. It’s full.” But I was a visiting professor, “What are they going to do? Fire me? Come on in.” He came in, he got the book.

LS: Classic Princeton student.

JS: Classic Princeton student. He was a very skilled musician. He gave up his plans for a life of music. He changed it to journalism. He finished. He graduated and then two weeks ago, six years out of Princeton, he won a Pulitzer Prize. 

LS: Wow. 

JS: He’s now a staff writer at the New Yorker, so if you really are committed to journalism, you can still make it. It’s not easy, but it never was.

LS: It’s absolutely not easy, and I think another thing we’re hearing about a ton. And of course on our end, working in media [and] working in journalism, I think there’s a good amount of understanding on what is reliable reporting [and] what is an unbiased news source, but I think for the general public at large, sometimes that’s really difficult to navigate. And media is, the word is so politicized now in this day and age and with the current politics, and I don’t want to get too political, but what’s your view on that? This politicization of media, of journalism, the words being thrown around like “fake news”. What’s your view on that? 

JS: I think it’s incredibly important that we have journalism, which is independent. We used to call it objective, but we don’t use that term much anymore. If an independent form of journalism, or something that aspires to be independent goes away, everybody will miss it incredibly and immediately. And it will be almost impossible to be replaced. Some people argue you can’t really be independent. You can’t put your personal views aside, but I see it as something to aspire towards. It’s like love or truth or honesty, you aspire towards being a good human being. You aspire towards being objective and independent and that is a huge value. Everything in our lives seems to be becoming politicized now and I think it’s really important that we have some aspect of our society which tries whether they are perfect and succeed at every instance, which tries to remain independent and not to take a side. I just have to think that’s going to continue in some form, because if everyone is just simply rooting for their team, we’re all gonna fail. There’s no way society can work that way. 

LS: If you’re someone, let’s say, you’re in a small town, somewhere in the Midwest, let’s say local news isn’t doing so well and you’re trying to navigate how do we understand our community? How do we understand what’s going on nationally in this current crisis? How do you navigate where to get your information? How do you make sure that what you’re hearing is reliable? How do you inform yourself in a time where maybe there’s an abundance of information, there’s an abundance of sources, how do you navigate that? 

JS: We have more information now than ever and it may be more confusing than ever, so the course I’m winding up this semester at Princeton is about specifically that, it’s called What to Read and Believe in a Digital Age. And it’s actually not that complicated once you understand where journalism comes from and how it’s made, how to know whether you should trust what you’re reading or not, but it takes work. The main thing is you have to pay attention and if all you’re looking for is to be entertained, you’re gonna get misled, you’re gonna get confused and you’re not going to really get most of the information. A couple keys is one, if […] you’re not watching like a late-night comedy show for entertainment, you’re actually looking to be informed, make sure what you’re looking at is journalism. it’s not political speech, it’s not advertising, it’s not propaganda, yet that you’re looking at something someone is making it their job to try to know how to get verified information, to verify it and then present it to you fairly. That’s step one. 

Then secondly, look at the component parts. Journalism doesn’t just drop from the sky fully born. It’s made up of these basic materials and there’s really only three essential materials, but all news comes from somewhere. It’s either from humans, journalists call these sources, “I have a source, a source told me this.” It’s just a human. That’s just a fancy name for a human. It comes from a human. If the journalist is getting information from a human, do they say, “I got this from Logan Sanders. You should trust Logan Sanders because she has a PhD in this area,”  or “she’s been a doctor working on this disease for the last ten years.” Look to see if they identify the human by name and by qualifications. The other basic material is observation, the journalist went out and went to Costco and looked and there was a line that stretched three blocks down the city. If […] the journalist sees it, unless they’re willing to just make it up, that’s also a good source of information. They should explain what they saw and what they did not see themselves as opposed to just listening to second- or third-hand accounts. And the third of the three basic elements is documents, which now a lot of documents together is data; we are in the digital age, so a lot of data. So sometimes journalists will use statistics. The mayor hired his brother-in-law to supply gloves and masks to city hospitals. You can get a document for the contracts to prove that. And then the journalist/journalism outlet should link to that very document so you can see the document to see if it’s accurate. Or they use a bunch of documents such as data: “Data we got from the CDC shows that the number of infections this week has gone down in Ohio by 10%,” actual data. And then in the news report the journalist can link to that data.So whenever I read anything or view anything, I’m looking for those three elements, what was this story build-out of? If you don’t see named humans, direct observation by the reporter and documents or data then it’s probably just the person’s opinion. And I don’t give opinion the credibility of hard verified facts. And that’s another thing just to go down to [the] very basics is what is journalism? Journalism just means something that someone has tried to verify, and that’s really important. If you’re just spreading something, you know, like your crazy uncle jumps on Facebook and puts something up and he just grabbed it off another website and [has] thrown it up. No one has independently stepped in and sa[id], “I’m going to verify this.” And if no one’s verified it, you should quarantine it in your head because it’s going to affect everything else. Anything that comes from a verified source, you should try to trust and [for] everything else push to the side. 

LS: You just bring up another point, which I think is incredibly relevant, which is the role of social media, especially during times like this, when getting a wide-enough breath and also accurate reporting is really important. But as we’ve seen, there were the hearings for Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg. We’ve been hearing all about how more and more people are getting their news through social media platforms, which oftentimes have their own algorithms, which are not necessarily aimed toward getting the most reliable news to you or showing you different viewpoints. Actually, oftentimes it’s the opposite; this idea of like an echo chamber that we’re in. Not to mention the people that we’re friends with on Facebook might tend to have more of the same views as us meaning we just keep hearing or seeing stuff from the same sources. What is social media’s role in all of this? And it’s complicated because you see now Facebook has journalism grants so they’re trying to have more effort toward supporting local newsrooms, and yet, there are problematic algorithms. What do you see in that? 

JS: Well, I use social media a lot like everyone else, but I have a real love-hate relationship with it. I have huge problems with social media. It’s very misleading and as you allude to, you can get caught up in these bubbles where you’re just hearing from people who think like yourself. So I work very hard to try to get out of that bubble, which is difficult, but one way you can do it is … also when you’re reading journalism is to try to go to a number of outlets. So, on a national level, I would not stick with just the New York Times and the Washington Post. I would try to go to other outlets: Wall Street Journal [or] Financial Times. Try to vary the outlooks. If you […] feel strongly one way politically, try to also go and read and listen to opposite political opinions — I find those are often more illuminating than listening to people who think like I do. But it can be really hard to escape. But unfortunately, I think right now it’s almost impossible to stay completely away from social media. It’s with us whether we want it or not. But you have to be really skeptical of what you see in social media. And even when your journalism comes over social media, you may not be getting everything; you read Washington Post stories off of social media, you might be missing 90% of what the Washington Post actually writes because it’s being filtered through your friends and acquaintances. I just say strive at every point to try to get out of that bubble, but it’s an endless battle and social media just keeps changing. And Facebook on a regular basis just tweaks its algorithms, [which] can make a vast difference in what we see. I’m hoping the social media platforms do a better job. I’m not holding my breath.

LS: This is totally a product of the digital age as well. I was thinking about when you used to go out and you buy a newspaper from a newspaper stand, that layout, what’s shown to you first, what was the major headline above the fold, what’s below the fold, how many pages you have to flip through before you get to the sports section, all those things used to be controllable, right? So that there were people making decisions about what’s the most important news and what’s maybe less important is going to go towards the back. And not to mention that also subsidized some of the content. For example, if people buy a whole newspaper for the sports section, you’re also helping to subsidize some of the “more important news” that’s happening on the front page, the politics and all of that. Everything has changed because of the digital age, and I just imagine as we’ve been talking about newsrooms everywhere are grappling with that change and still trying to do the important work that they do. 

JS: Yeah, everything has changed, and you started on your example with something I think that’s key; you’re talking about going out and choosing a newspaper or magazine, right? And then you had to pay money for it. So it used to be built in that you’re making a decision as a consumer. It’s like: I’m going to go out and get this. I’m going to choose what I’m going to get. I’m going to get a piece of journalism and I’m going to pay money for it. So I’m going to choose what’s worth my money. None of that process happens anymore. Now, we’re in the line at CVS and we’re bored. We look at our phone and we just read whatever comes across the screen without ever making a conscious choice, and we’re going to read something. Often our brains don’t even get to the point of thinking, “Is this journalism?”, “Is this reporting to be verified and fair?” It just goes in our brain. Now, the analogy I use for this is if you’re walking down the street and on a park bench you saw something and it looks like it might be this beautiful chocolate muffin. And oh, you absentmindedly just reach down and pop it in your mouth. Well, it might be a chocolate muffin that someone left there and it’s perfectly fine, or it might be something dramatically different. Did you examine it and you don’t know how long it’s been there, but you throw it in your mouth. And once it’s in your mouth, it’s part of you, right? Same thing with what you see on the screen on your smartphone. Once you’ve looked at it, studies show it’s part of your brain. And even if someone comes up to you immediately and says, “You know what. That was fake news. That was propaganda. That was wrong.” People are tested in controlled studies a week or two later, they actually give that information more credibility even if they were told it was wrong. We need to think about what we put in our media diet so that we’re getting a healthy mix of things. 

LS: Absolutely, and I love that. I think as we’ve been talking about this whole conversation, there’s really kind of two aspects for me: one is the organizational side, the institutional side, and some of those struggles and that responsibility in some sense is on those newsrooms to innovate, but there’s also another responsibility, which is those of us who are consuming news there is a certain amount of intentionality that’s required of us in an age where so much is passive information. And I think in some ways, COVID-19 as in almost every sector, has been devastating, but is also exposing and an opportunity for us to think about what the future looks like. As you mentioned, some national news is getting more exposure for how great its work is, especially during these times, how important? Ad revenue has decreased dramatically though, as it was already doing, but this is kind of just the icing on the cake, but local newsrooms are struggling. There’s a lot of exposure that there’s a lack of information during a time like this. I guess all of that is leading up to maybe a final question for you, which doesn’t maybe have one answer, but if we come out on the other side of this crisis, for both the institutions, the organizations, the newsrooms and for us as news consumers, what do you hope to see change? It would be a shame, I guess, if we came out on the other end and nothing was different or the way we thought wasn’t different. What do you hope to see? 

JS: Oh, well, I have lots of hopes. I would really hope that even broader than the media, that this would be a sign that we are all in this together and we all need each other and we have to work together to solve our problems. And that this fractionalism, which seems to have taken over American society, would be reduced and that we could all pull together. Americans have always pulled together in times of trouble and challenge, and I hope, I would pray that that would be what happens here. And at the same time, that people also would stop looking at we’ve got our journalists and you’ve got your journalists and we’ve each got our own sets of facts. When it comes to a pandemic, there are actual facts. There are the number of people who get sick, the number of who get infected, the number of people who unfortunately died and what can be done to stop those? Those are actual facts and they’re really important. And so I hope it would refocus all of society on [this:] we need verified facts, we need experts to figure things out for us and we all need to work together. We don’t have to agree, but it doesn’t mean that the people we disagree with are evil or they’re our enemies. They’re our fellow citizens so you can hope. 

LS: Definitely, we need hope more than ever and I think in some ways, journalism gives us that hope in its most ideal form. That there is, like you said, there is fact, there is truth and it does require some amount of trust. That’s the responsibility of the journalists. It’s also the responsibility of the common person who’s reading or trusting. It does give us some hope and I’m excited for all of those aspiring journalists that you were talking about in your classes, who are maybe not coming up into journalism in the easiest time. I don’t know if there’s ever been an easy time, but for sure it’s a time when we’re realizing it’s more important than ever. I know in our work, in the work that we’re doing in media, we feel more invigorated. We feel the work we are doing is more needed than ever, and something we’ve really found not only renewed productivity and inspiration for us to continue working, but also we’ve seen a renewed interest. We’ve seen more people who are donating. We’ve seen more people who are subscribing. We’ve seen more people who are interacting with content and that is something that amidst all of the craziness happening outside is a real encouragement to anyone in this profession and the future of our community at large. 

JS: I hope that gives us hope for the future. 

LS: Absolutely. I really appreciate you sitting down with me today. I think it was a really enlightening conversation, and demystifying in some ways, there’s so much that’s confusing during these times, so it’s always good to talk to people who’ve had experience and to have hope for the future as well. So, I really appreciate it, thank you so much Joe. 

JS: Thank you for the opportunity and keep up the good work, it’s important. I’m glad you’re out there. 

LS: Thank you. Thank you all again for joining us. And in this time of uncertainty, the need for reliable and trustworthy information is more important than ever. If you enjoyed this content, like, share, comment and consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter, the link is below. As always, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay human. 


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